President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated 250 restored buildings during a ceremony at the Presidential Complex yesterday for Foundations Week. The event, celebrating the waqf (or vakıf as this originally Arabic word is spelled in Turkish) culture of Ottoman communities, was held with live video feeds of the restored sites, including Aya Yorgi Church in Istanbul's Edirnekapı and mosques spread across seven regions of the country.
The waqf refers to charity endowment promoted by Islam. It is a reflection of generosity, and was a staple of the Ottoman Empire and an organization where royals funded projects like hospitals, Turkish baths, mosques and schools through foundations.
In modern Turkey, the Directorate-General of Foundations, a state-run agency, is tasked with overseeing foundations running centuries-old buildings, from churches to synagogues, as well as modern-day charities helping the poor. The directorate is also responsible for the restoration of buildings owned by foundations or designated as landmarks.